Most coffee aficionados agree that the best coffees in the world are grown mainly on mountainsides between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Here the climate, altitude and soil combine to create the optimum environment for the beans to grow and thrive. These are coffees of substance and quality with attributes that rival a fine wine. Complex with a superb finish and a sensory memory that lingers, they are the among the most esteemed coffees in the world. It’s no wonder coffees born within this latitude have an attitude, some commanding retail prices well over $100.00 a pound.
Who are these fashionistas of the coffee world? According to Forbes.com they include the citrus honey flavored Hacienda la Esmeralda Geisha from Panama, Fazenda Santa Ines from Brazil and a coffee made from coffee cherries that have been eaten by the common palm civet, a small cat-like carnivore that lives in Southeast Asia. The outer pulp of the fruit is digested and the coffee beans are supposedly excreted unscathed. Said to be sweeter as a result, the beans pass onto the jungle floor where they are hand collected, processed and roasted to make kopi luwak (civet coffee), reputedly the best of all coffees because the palm civets “pluck and eat only the most perfectly ripe cherries”. I think this might just qualify for Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods vending machine.